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Articles tagged #Rachel Cliff
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Athletics Canada team withdraws from the World Half-Marathon Championships

On Wednesday morning, Athletics Canada made the decision to withdraw its team from the upcoming World Half-Marathon Championships set to take place this weekend in Gdynia, Poland.

With 24 hours until their flight, athletes were notified that the team would no longer be participating. On the women’s side, Rachel Cliff was the lone Canadian representative and on the men’s side Canada was sending Trevor Hofbauer, Justin Kent, Ben Preisner, Thomas Toth and Phil Parrot-Migas. 

This event was postponed in March due to COVID-19, but is now set to go on Saturday. Several other countries, including the U.S. and Japan, pulled out of the championship in September, citing safety reasons. 

“This was a very difficult decision, but we think it is in the best interests of the athletes and the team staff,” Simon Nathan, Athletics Canada’s high-performance director, said in a press release. “We know that this is disappointing news, but we have made this decision with our team’s health and safety at heart.”

While Athletics Canada officials were confident that WA was doing everything possible to protect participants, they felt there were too many risks that nobody could be expected to control.

“When we considered the risks associated with flying and transfers within airports, with the athletes being in publicly-accessed common areas like hotel lobbies and common dining areas, and the unknown of individuals’ compliance to safe protocols, we felt it was prudent not to expose our team to those risks,” said Dr. Paddy McCluskey, Athletics Canada’s Chief Medical Officer.

(10/14/2020) Views: 71 ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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World Half Marathon Championships

World Half Marathon Championships

The first one was first held in 1992. The collaboration with the world half marathon championships allows the Trinidad Alfonso Foundation to continue its strategy of supporting sports events that help to position València as the city of running. It has been the main contributor to the Valencia Marathon and Half Marathon for the past five years. The Spanish Federation...

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World Athletics announces new Road World Championships

WA announces 5K to be included in 2023 world half-marathon championships, rebrands it Road Running World Championships

On Tuesday morning, World Athletics announced a new event coming in 2023 – the Road Running World Championships. This new championship will be part of the existing World Athletics Half-Marathon Championships, but will also feature the world 5K championships as a new event, and could potentially include others (like the road mile) in the future.

“Road running has become an increasingly significant part of our sport over the past 20 years and it deserves greater recognition within our World Athletics Series events,” World Athletics CEO Jon Ridgeon said in a press release.

The 2020 World Half-Marathon Championships are scheduled to run October 17 in Poland. While the U.S. and Japan have pulled out of the race, Canada named their team last week. Rachel Cliff is the lone Canadian representative on the women’s side, and on the men’s side, Canada is sending Trevor Hofbauer, Justin Kent, Ben Preisner, Thomas Toth and Phil Parrot-Migas.

Parrot-Migas was a late addition to the team, but last week he successfully appealed Athletics Canada’s initial decision to leave him off the team, meaning he will be running in Poland in three weeks’ time.

World cross-country to move to even years

WA also announced that as of 2024, their cross-country championship will move to even years to align with the Olympics. This is in anticipation of hopefully transitioning cross-country to an Olympic event once again.

(10/03/2020) Views: 55 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Run with Paula Radcliffe in the fast 10k virtually

The World Athletics Half Marathon Championships are just a couple of weeks away, and race organizers in Gdynia, Poland, have provided one last challenge ahead of the free virtual mass participation race.

The Fast 10k with Paula Radcliffe is the final test of fitness for participants who plan to run the half-marathon, and they can do it (virtually) alongside one of the best marathoners in history, after whom the challenge is named. 

Radcliffe is an Olympian, a British and European record-holder many times over and the former women’s marathon world record-holder. Her marathon best was only recently beaten by Brigid Kosgei, who lowered Radcliffe’s longstanding record of 2:15:25 at the Chicago Marathon in 2019. In a promotional video for the Gdynia event and her virtual challenge, Radcliffe says the “World Half Marathon Championships have a very special place in my heart.

It was my first world title. I won three World Half Marathon Championships and all of them were extremely special to me.” She won the world half-marathon titles in 2000, 2001 and 2003, the same year she set her marathon world record. 

This is the last of the virtual “warmup events” that have been organized for competitors by the Gdynia 2020 team. There was also a one-mile run with World Athletics head Seb Coe and a 5K with British Olympian Eilish McColgan, among other events. It’s easy to participate. Simply head to the event website, download the Gdynia 2020 tracking app and head off on your 10K challenge in preparation for your virtual half-marathon. 

The mass participation race was cancelled and changed to a virtual format for 2020 due to COVID-19, but the elite race is still set to go ahead. The race has a number of big names ready to run, and it should be an exciting one to watch.

Newly-minted 5,000m world record-holder Joshua Cheptegei will be debuting at the distance in Gdynia, and he will be lining up alongside a strong Canadian team that’s made up of Trevor Hofbauer, Justin Kent, Phil Parrot-Migas, Benjamin Preisner and Thomas Toth. The lone woman heading to Poland to represent Canada is former national half and full marathon record-holder Rachel Cliff. 

For anyone interested in participating in either the The Fast 10k with Paula Radcliffe challenge or the virtual half-marathon, it’s not too late to sign up.

(10/02/2020) Views: 88 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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World Half Marathon Championships

World Half Marathon Championships

The first one was first held in 1992. The collaboration with the world half marathon championships allows the Trinidad Alfonso Foundation to continue its strategy of supporting sports events that help to position València as the city of running. It has been the main contributor to the Valencia Marathon and Half Marathon for the past five years. The Spanish Federation...

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Athletics Canada has unveiled its team of four men and one woman for the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020

Pan American 10,000m bronze medalist Rachel Cliff, former national record-holder in the marathon (2:26:56), heads to Gdynia with a half marathon PB of 1:10:06, set last December in Japan. She came within a few seconds of that mark in Houston earlier this year with 1:10:13.

“After a spring and summer of race cancellations, I wasn’t sure when I would have this opportunity again,” Cliff said. “Since March, we’ve all had to make massive adaptations to our lives, and I think the World Half Marathon Championships will be a chance to get an understanding of what racing in this ‘new normal’ will look like. Competing on the world stage has never been something I’ve taken for granted, but I will appreciate it all the more this time round.”

Trevor Hofbauer, who has earned early nomination for Canada’s Olympic team in the marathon, has an official half marathon PB of 1:04:30, but recently ran a 1:03:02 time trial. Ben Presiner has the fastest official PB of the field with 1:02:57, set earlier this year. Justin Kent and Thomas Toth are Canada’s other team members.

“This is obviously not your typical World Championships race,” said Athletics Canada head coach Glenroy Gilbert. “Everyone has had to adapt in a season without a lot of competitions. Our runners have put in a lot of miles to get to this race and it will be a good test of their physical and mental preparations. I’m looking forward to seeing how they manage the race and I expect to see some good results.”

Canadian team for Gdynia

Men: Trevor Hofbauer, Justin Kent, Benjamin Preisner, Thomas Toth

Women: Rachel Cliff

(09/23/2020) Views: 87 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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World Half Marathon Championships

World Half Marathon Championships

The first one was first held in 1992. The collaboration with the world half marathon championships allows the Trinidad Alfonso Foundation to continue its strategy of supporting sports events that help to position València as the city of running. It has been the main contributor to the Valencia Marathon and Half Marathon for the past five years. The Spanish Federation...

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Tokyo Games look to be in trouble with marathons cancelling into 2021

The 2021 edition of Japan's Marugame Half-Marathon was cancelled, which is not a good sign for next year's Olympics.

On Monday morning, the Marine Corps Marathon became the most recent major marathon to announce that they won’t be running their 2020 event. While some 2020 marathons hold out, like London, most others have pulled the plug. While it’s not very surprising anymore when 2020 races cancel, it is most sobering when you see that events are looking shaky into next year. Even though July 2021 is still 12 months away, not even the Tokyo Olympics are safe just yet, and now Japanese events slated for next year are calling things off well in advance.  

Along with the Marine Corps Marathon, organizers of the Marugame Half-Marathon, one of Japan’s premier road races, cancelled their 2021 event on Monday. With this news, Marugame has become the third major Japanese race to cancel for 2021 and the first World Athletics labelled race to cancel. The event is one of the most competitive half-marathons in the world and was typically used as a tune-up race for the Tokyo Marathon. It was scheduled to run February 7, 2021. Canadian Rachel Cliff is no stranger to the race, running a 1:10:28 there in 2019 – one of the fastest-ever times run by a Canadian. 

With the Olympics looming, Japan cancelling races only five months out of their start date isn’t very promising. With the qualification window opening on December 1, the hope is that athletes will have the opportunity to travel, get into fast races and achieve the necessary standards. However, if travel bans remain and races continue to cancel, runners won’t be able to qualify for the Games. 

In addition to the matter of cancelled races, which is making the prospect of the 2021 Olympics appear more and more bleak, a recent poll of Japanese citizens has been released which shows that just one in four people hope to see the Games go ahead next summer. According to an article from the Agence France-Presse, 23.9 per cent of Japanese citizens want the Games to be held in 2021. Another 36.4 per cent of those polled said they would like to see the Olympics delayed even more, and 33.7 per cent of respondents simply think the event should be cancelled. 

The IOC and Japanese government have already stated that there is no Plan C for the Tokyo Games, and if they cannot be held in July 2021, then they won’t be held at all. 

(07/21/2020) Views: 158 ⚡AMP
by Canadian Running
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Runners and competitive hotdog eaters have more in common than you think

A closer look at the intersection between competitive eating and competitive running

When pondering the upper limit of how many hotdogs one person could possibly eat 10 minutes, James Smoliga, professor of physiology at High Point University in North Carolina, looked to running statistics for the answer. He told As It Happens host Nil Köksal on Thursday that running, specifically the trajectory of marathon world records, was a key inspiration for creating a mathematical formula to determine how many hotdogs a human can eat in 10 minutes.

At first glance, the two pursuits have little in common, but Smoliga explained to CBC that the principles are, in ways, quite similar. “When I was reading some of the literature and some of the mathematical models trying to estimate these types of things … it occurred to me that the patterns that we see in track-and-field type of athletes … are actually very similar to what I suspected the Coney Island hotdog eating contest would reveal.”

He says the rate at which people can consume hotdogs has increased with a similar trajectory to how quickly people can run marathons.

It’s a combination of talent and training

As with any sport, the ability to scarf down 75 hotdogs in 10 minutes (the current world record) or run a marathon in under two hours, is a combination of talent and training – you can’t accomplish either feat without both. Not just anyone gets to become Eliud Kipchoge when they grow up.

As many have noted, Kipchoge trains with precision and purpose that’s unmatched by almost any other runner in the world. The best hotdog eaters would need to train their stomachs in a similar manner.

The way runners hypothesized about the sub-two hour marathon, hotdog eaters are thinking about the 84-dog barrier. Right now, it’s nine hotdogs beyond the world record, but like in running, Smoliga believes people will rise to the occasion.

It was only one year ago that a sub-two hour marathon still sounded like science fiction. Now that two men (Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele) have run under 2:02 in a race, and Kipchoge has run a world’s best of 1:59 – the sub-two hour marathon will become more common for the most elite.

Canadian women’s running has seen a similar situation in the past two years, especially on the roads. The women’s half-marathon national record has changed hands three times since 2018 – first with Rachel Cliff, then Cliff lowered her own mark again, then Natasha Wodak took it and finally Andrea Seccafien ran the fastest of them all in February 2020.

In the Canadian women’s marathon, Cliff took the event to new heights in 2018 and by 2020, Malindi Elmore had lowered the mark by over two minutes again. The running world has seen a huge breakthrough in the past five years, and we’re hoping that the hotdog-eating world can do the same.

(07/12/2020) Views: 99 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Natasha Wodak and Justin Kent win Canadian 10K virtual championships

Natasha Wodak proved that you can run a pretty killer solo effort on Wednesday when she earned her second-consecutive national 10K championship win, only 10 seconds behind her winning time from 2019. She finished her 10K run in 32:41 and took the top women’s spot by nearly a minute with Rachel Cliff finishing second in 33:35. 

The Canadian 10K Championships, which historically took place as part of Ottawa Race Weekend, were moved to a virtual event for 2020. Registered runners had a 12-hour window (from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time) on Wednesday to complete a 10K course of their choosing. Their route had to be an out and back. 

In the men’s race, Justin Kent came out on top with a 28:52, followed by Luc Bruchet who ran a 29:17 just days after a 10, 000m personal best on the track. Dylan Wykes, Elite Athlete Organizer for the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is really happy with how the virtual race went. 

“This year has been extraordinary in so many ways that we really wanted an opportunity to engage with Canadian elite runners and give them a chance to compete against one another in some way. Congratulations to all the runners who took part and we cannot wait to see them at the Start Line in Ottawa in 2021.”

If runners didn’t have a chance to run on Wednesday, no worries, there’s still plenty of time to participate in the The Beat the Champ race. This event will run through the month of July and invites runners to try to beat the national 10K champion at their own game.

This open competition asks runners to beat the 2020 winning times (28:52 and 32:41) by running 10 x 1K intervals, and combining individual segments to beat the winning 2020 10K result.

(07/03/2020) Views: 155 ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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Canada’s Rachel Cliff withdraws from Tokyo Marathon

On February 17, the Tokyo Marathon announced that its mass participation race was canceled due to coronavirus. Although the elite and wheelchair races will still go ahead as planned on Sunday, several athletes—including Canada’s Rachel Cliff—have announced they won’t be racing. 

Cliff said that her main reason for withdrawing from Tokyo was not out of a fear of getting sick, although the coronavirus did indirectly affect her decision. When the race organizers cancelled the mass participation event, the men’s elite field cut-off time was adjusted to 2:21 to limit the race field to a total of just 200 competitors.

“It was looking spread out from 2:21 to 2:30,” Cliff said. She has a marathon PB of 2:26:56, which she was looking to better in Tokyo to improve her chances of being selected for the Canadian Olympic marathon team.

The 2:21 men’s cut-off meant that Cliff could have potentially been stuck running alone for much of the race. She understandably didn’t want to go all that way to run a marathon in which she might not have someone who could help pace her.

“It was a really tough decision,” she said. “Training went well. We’ll see when the results are out if it was the right decision or not.” As it stands now, Cliff said she isn’t sure how her schedule will unfold.

“It’s been tough, because I’ve been tapering for this one,” she said. “Whether I decide to jump into another marathon this spring remains to be seen.”

Cliff isn’t the only athlete to withdraw from Tokyo after the changes were announced. Manuela Schär, the 2019 women’s wheelchair champion in Tokyo, has also pulled out, citing concerns surrounding coronavirus, as reported by the Japan Times.

(02/29/2020) Views: 701 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo Marathon

The Tokyo Marathon is an annual marathon sporting event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World Marathon Majors. (2020) The Tokyo Marathon Foundation said it will cancel the running event for non-professional runners as the coronavirus outbreak pressures cities and institutions to scrap large events. Sponsored by Tokyo...

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Defending champ Ruti Aga and last year's winner Birhanu Legese will be back for 2020 Tokyo Marathon

Ethiopia is pretty far down the road to overtaking Kenya as the world's leading marathon nation, and its presence is heavy in both the women's and men's fields for the Olympic year 2020 Tokyo Marathon. Lacking London's star power the Tokyo fields won't win many nominations for best of 2020, but with loads of World Marathon Majors top three finishers and winners of next-tier gold label marathons they're still fields at a level most other races would love to be able to pull off.

On the women's side, with PBs of 2:18:34 and 2:18:46 defending champ Ruti Aga and past winner Birhane Dibaba lead a main of twelve top-tier invited elites, of which nine were born in Ethiopia. The other three, Valary Jemeli Aiyabei, nationality transfer Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, and Selly Chepyego Kaptich, were all born in Kenya.

With Tokyo not counting in last-chance Olympic qualification for Japanese women the top entrant from outside those two countries is Japan's Haruka Yamaguchi, an amateur who took 7th in this past weekend's Osaka International Women's Marathon in 2:26:35. Former Canadian national record holder Rachel Cliff and locals Kaori Yoshida, Risa Noguchi, Shiho Kaneshige and Yurie Doi fill out the rest of the sub-2:30 set.

On the men's side Ethiopians make up five of the eleven invited internationals including the top four, with last year's winner Birhanu Legese leading the way in 2:02:48. Things are heavily stacked in the 2:04 to low-2:05 range, perfectly designed to set it up for the Japanese men. Their task and its payoff are simple: be the top Japanese guy in 2:05:49 or better and replace national record holder Suguru Osako (Nike) on the Sapporo 2020 Olympic marathon team.

Osako's there to stop them, fresh off a 25 km tempo in Dubai. His main competition is previous national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda), who said last week that 2:05 isn't good enough and that if he doesn't run 2:04 in what he's calling his final marathon in Japan then he'll turn down the Olympic team spot.

Shitara's got that crazy edge working, which can count for a lot, but the biggest danger to Osako is probably going to be the ultra-disciplined Hiroto Inoue (MHPS), who ran 2:06:54 in Asics behind Shitara's NR two years ago, then made the switch to the Next% this season and promptly crushed the course record on the New Year Ekiden's longest stage. Put him in the same shoes as Osako and Shitara and they'd better watch out.

Kenta Murayama has the goods to be the other three's equal, but with his sponsor team Asahi Kasei having lost the plot when it comes to marathoning it would be a surprise to see him go much below 2:08. With twelve current sub-2:10 Japanese men in the field it's one of the best domestic races ever assembled, but apart from Murayama and possibly his talented teammate Shuho Dairokuno it's hard to see any darkhorses breaking through to the level of Osako, Shitara and Inoue. 

Mizuki Matsuda's 2:21:47 win in Osaka last weekend bumped her up into the 3rd Olympic women's spot but left her vulnerable to others in Nagoya, but with all the main men in Tokyo it's even harder to see anyone in Lake Biwa a week later going better than what they might do here.

(01/28/2020) Views: 349 ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner
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Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo Marathon

The Tokyo Marathon is an annual marathon sporting event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World Marathon Majors. (2020) The Tokyo Marathon Foundation said it will cancel the running event for non-professional runners as the coronavirus outbreak pressures cities and institutions to scrap large events. Sponsored by Tokyo...

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Canadian Malindi Elmore recovered from injury is getting ready to race in Houston

The 2020 Houston Chevron Marathon is less than two weeks away, and while it’s technically an American race, it also serves as the winter running event of choice for the many Canadian runners. For the 2020 edition lots of Canadian elites are heading south of the border to try and run fast times, but a race we’re particularly excited to see is Malindi Elmore’s.

Elmore shocked Canadian runners a year ago when she ran a 2:32 marathon debut in Houston, which she would later describe as “a fun family project.” Since her debut, Elmore’s cranked out several impressive times, including a 1:11:08 half-marathon and a 32:44 10K. The original plan was to run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, which doubled as the 2020 Olympic Trials. Elmore pulled out one week from the race due to a hamstring injury.

Elmore was targeting the Olympic standard of 2:29:30 and the automatic qualification spot that came from winning STWM. If she was successful, she would have qualified for her second Olympic team, 16 years and two babies after qualifying for her first (she competed in the 2004 Olympics for the 1,500m). The runner still has until May to run standard and put herself in the conversation for the Olympic team, but making the 2020 marathon squad will be harder than ever.

Canada can send up to three runners, but with Dayna Pidhoresky’s spot already guaranteed, Lyndsay Tessier’s top-10 finish at the World Championships acting as the equivalent to standard and Rachel Cliff knocking off the year with a new Canadian half-marathon record, the Canadian women’s road scene is deeper than it has been in years.

If Elmore is able to run under standard (2:29:30), there will be four Canadian women who’ve achieved it. And that’s not including Emily Setlack, who was only 18 seconds off at STWM. It’s far from cut-and-dried when it comes to who will be making this Olympic marathon team. There were years when Canada was excited to send one runner, and now there will likely be a marathoner, with standard, who won’t make the team.

But personally, Elmore isn’t overly concerned about the standard. “My goal is to run as fast as I can run, and if I perform how I think I’m capable of, it’ll land me within standard.”

The runner says that this build has been a little different than her first, due to her past injury. “Returning from injury wasn’t too bad, it took me about four weeks. That’s a pretty quick turn-around, all things considered. It was certainly a shorter build than I anticipated because I wasn’t starting from scratch.” Elmore was still working with the fitness she’d gained leading up to Scotia. She says she was very happy to see Pidhoresky and Hofbauer’s performances at STWM. “It was a really exciting race to watch. I was really happy for them and really happy to see how well they’d done.”

When asked about how Canadian running has changed over the past 20 years, Elmore says that connectedness is the biggest difference. “There’s a connection between runners and the public now. I felt much more alone doing my training and racing in 2004. Running was my personal story that I shared with people closest to me but it wasn’t available publicly the way things are now with social media.”

Elmore jokes that when she ran her lifetime personal best in the 1,500m she didn’t know for about an hour, because the results weren’t available. Then, she couldn’t tell her loved ones until she got back to the hotel and made the collect call home. “Now I put a workout up on Strava and get immediate kudos. I think there’s a greater awareness of what people are trying to achieve and what they’re doing to get there. It’s easier to build and maintain a community through technology where we can cheer people on from a distance.”

(01/07/2020) Views: 516 ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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Chevron Houston Marathon

Chevron Houston Marathon

The Chevron Houston Marathon offers participants a unique running experience in America's fourth largest city. The fast, flat, scenic single-loop course has been ranked as the "fastest winter marathon" and "second fastest marathon overall" by Ultimate Guide To Marathons. Additionally, with more than 200,000 spectators annually, the Chevron Houston Marathon enjoys tremendous crowd support. Established in 1972, the Houston Marathon...

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New team in town: Under Armour runs into Flagstaff

Living here, up where the air is rare and trails snake through mountains and traverse verdant valleys, means that you are as liable to see as many elite runners donning corporate-logoed singlets and compression socks around town as you are to spot locals wearing fleece and Birkenstock's.

Yeah, ho-hum, that’s Mo Farah doing squats at your gym. And isn’t that Sara Hall pounding out miles of the FUTS, and Edward Cheserek reeling off sub-50-second 400s at the end of a workout on NAU’s track? Then there’s that thundering herd of Hoka NAZ Elite runners, always striding down Lake Mary Road like so many sleek big cats roaming the savanna.

Flagstaff’s stable of professional runners, some full-time residents but many parachuting in for elevation training, now has grown even more robust — and not just because it soon will be an Olympic year. There’s a new team in town, a corporate-sponsored training group that is fast filling its ranks with numbers challenging NAZ Elite’s civic running hegemony.

The as-yet unnamed group — expect an official "branding" sometime soon — is funded and sponsored by the apparel and shoe company Under Armour. It is headed not by interlopers, but by two track and field veterans who have histories in Flagstaff.

Noted running agent Stephen Haas, who also coaches the likes of 17-time NCAA champ Cheserek, is the driving force behind the team’s formation. He’s been a Flagstaff regular for nearly a decade, first as a distance runner who came here to train, then as a sort of Sherpa for athletes represented by his agency, Total Sports US, and later for several years as executive director of Team Run Flagstaff.

Now Haas has ascended to running his own training group, under Under Armour’s auspices, while still looking after the approximately 45 athletes he represents worldwide, some of whom swoop in here for high-altitude camps and some, like Cheserek, who make Flagstaff home.

Haas is aided in this new venture by former UC Berkeley cross country and track coach Shayla Houlihan, who left Cal after seven seasons last spring. Houlihan, too, has a Flagstaff connection, having trained here earlier in the decade as a pro steeplechaser and then working for two years as a Team Run Flagstaff coach.

So, it’s something of a homecoming for the pair, though you will see a few new faces on the roads, trails and track no doubt wearing the UA logo. They include 2018 NCAA 10,000-meter champion Sharon Lokedi, 5,000-meter elite Rachael Schneider, miler Patrick Casey, 800-meter runner Baylee Mires, Irish marathoner Stephen Scullion and two promising middle-distance recruits fresh out of college, Blake Haney (Oregon) and Taryn Rawlings (Portland).

This new team, perhaps not yet boasting the championship pedigree of NAZ Elite, raises two questions: Is this town big enough for two year-round sponsored training groups, and, is Flagstaff reaching a saturation point when it comes to infrastructure for so many elite runners hitting town to train?

Haas doesn’t hesitate in answering.

“No,” he said. “The five minutes that we cross over in the gym with NAZ Elite is the only time we see NAZ Elite. We’re more track-based, so we’re on the track more than them. They’re on the road more than us. For whatever reason, we have different schedules.

“People ask me this all the time. Yes, there’s a lot of athletes who come to Flag, but if you’re not making the effort to connect with people, well, this is a place where you can be lost in the woods every day. You need to make connections.”

As a former elite runner and now agent, Haas is all about networking and building relationships. His career as an agent soared after being named Total Sports US’s client services coordinator. His stable of athletes include notable pros such as Cheserek, Olympians Shelby Houlihan (Shayla’s younger sister) and Hassan Mead, Olympic silver medalist Sally Kipyego and Rachel Cliff, Canada’s marathon and half-marathon record holder. Just recently, he has signed four-time NCAA champ Morgan McDonald and three-time NCAA titlist Jessica Hull, both Aussies, in addition to two-time NCAA 1,500-meter runner-up Justine Kiprotich, who runs for Hoka (though not NAZ Elite) and trains in Flagstaff.

Perhaps more important, at least to the success of the new team sponsored by Under Armour, is Haas’ connections in Flagstaff.

In his days as a distance runner, Haas shared a house with NAU cross country and track coach Michael Smith and the two remain friends. His tenure as executive director of Team Run Flagstaff, in Haas’ words, “gave me a community of people, friends, right away, a social circle.” His duties with TRF dealt with a lot of financial issues, such as gaining sponsorship, but he left the organization because his career as an agent and burgeoning coach was ascending.

“Team Run Flagstaff was great, but it wasn’t a great fit for me,” he said. “I liked more of the elite side of the running world.”

Even before heading TRF, Haas was spending enough time in Flagstaff to be considered a regular in the running community. Total Sports US eventually tasked him to make Flagstaff his home base, because “it seemed a lot of the work we were doing was helping athletes get settled in Flagstaff, get housing, get track access and physio (therapy).

Now that his role has widened, Haas finds himself in a potentially conflicting position. Unlike other top agents in the U.S. — say, Ray Flynn, Hawi Keflezighi or Josh Cox — who solely represent athletes, Haas is negotiating deals for clients with companies sponsoring teams that are direct competitors to the newly-formed Under Armour group.

“Now I’m dual recruiting for the agency, obviously, but also for the group, too,” he said. “It’s a unique situation. We could be interested in a (graduating college) kid who signs with another agency and that’s OK, too. It’s nice to have Shayla here because we can kind of separate a little bit. She can focus on recruiting for the group, and I can focus on recruiting for the agency. That gives the athlete a little more clarity as well. But I’m not closed off …I can work alongside as a coach (with) another agent that represents a kid that I want to recruit. I guess it could be counter-intuitive for the group, but my first and foremost job for any athlete we sign to Total Sports is to try to get them the best contract as possible. Justine is a perfect example.”

Kiprotich, who lost the NCAA 1,500-meter title last year by one one-thousands of a second, is a Haas client. Haas was negotiating an endorsement deal with Under Armour, the sponsor of the new Flagstaff team, for Kiprotich. But Hoka came in with a better offer and he signed with that brand. But instead of joining NAZ Elite or other Hoka teams, Kiprotich was allowed to move to Flagstaff and train under Haas.

“We’re lucky enough that Under Armour still allowed him to come here and train with us,” Haas said.

There’s a similar situation concerning Cheserek, who signed with Skechers. He trains in Flagstaff and jumps in occasionally to work out with the Under Armour athletes as well as other elites who hit town.

Houlihan’s role with the new training group is essential, Haas said, especially since he travels more than 200 days a year. Though a veteran Division 1 coach of both men and women, Houlihan is trying something new coaching pros. Then again, many of the athletes signed by Under Armour are in the early stages of their professional careers.

(01/05/2020) Views: 429 ⚡AMP
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British marathon champion Charlotte Purdue clocks 68:45 in Japan for her second fastest ever time winning the Sanyo half-marathon on Sunday

Britain’s Charlotte Purdue won the half-marathon in 68:45 for the British marathon champion’s second fastest ever time over 13.1 miles and her quickest on a record-eligible course (behind her 68:08 recorded at this year’s Great North Run).

It is over a minute quicker than she ran at the Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon in February.

Purdue beat, among others, Japanese Olympic marathon trials winner Honami Maeda (69:08).

Sara Miyake was third in 69:23, while Canada’s Rachel Cliff set a national record of 70:06 in sixth.

(12/16/2019) Views: 510 ⚡AMP
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Sanyo Ladies Road Race

Sanyo Ladies Road Race

The Sanyo Ladies Road Race is held at the Okayama City circle course on december, also known as the Sanyo Women's Road Race, is an annual road running competition for women held in December in Okayama, Japan. It features both a 10k runand Half Marathon race. Sanyo Shimbun, a daily newspaper, is the title sponsor for the event. The day's...

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Rachel Cliff sets new Canadian half-marathon record at the Sanyo´s Ladies Road Race

Rachel Cliff beat her own personal best to to set the new Canadian half-marathon record. It is also her fourth time setting a Canadian record in 2019.

At the Sanyo Ladies' Half-Marathon in Okayama, Japan, Cliff finished in sixth place but did so with a time of 1:10:06, beating her previous record of 1:10:08 that she accomplished in 2018 at the Woodlands Half-Marathon. Charlotte Purdue of England won the race with a time of 1:08:48 followed by Honami Maeda of Japan taking second clocking in at 1:09:08. 

Cliff set the Canadian 25K, 30K and marathon records at the Nagoya Women's Marathon earlier this year. The Vancouver native is searching to be apart of the Tokyo Olympics after she was left off the team in 2016 Olympic team. 

The 31-year-old also won bronze in the 10,000 metre at the 2019 Pan-Am games in Peru. 

Cliff was the lone Canadian in the top-10 at the Sanyo Ladies' Half-Marathon.

(12/16/2019) Views: 513 ⚡AMP
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Sanyo Ladies Road Race

Sanyo Ladies Road Race

The Sanyo Ladies Road Race is held at the Okayama City circle course on december, also known as the Sanyo Women's Road Race, is an annual road running competition for women held in December in Okayama, Japan. It features both a 10k runand Half Marathon race. Sanyo Shimbun, a daily newspaper, is the title sponsor for the event. The day's...

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Canadian distance runner Rachel Cliff hopes to be picked to run the marathon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Rachel Cliff says she is not running with a chip on her shoulder but her results since a bold switch to the marathon from the 5,000 meters might suggest otherwise as the Canadian looks to punch her ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Cliff, in only her second career marathon, shattered the Canadian record in March at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon in Japan where her time of two hours, 26 minutes 56 seconds was 64 seconds faster than the previous national mark set in 2013.

“I was fortunate that I was able to apply the lessons I had learned in the shorter events to the marathon,” Cliff, 31, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“And the training and the mentality of the event seemed to come quickly to me and I think that was partly because I was able to get a lot of advice from people who’d done it before.”

Yet Cliff would likely have never even started to focus on the marathon if it had not been for some heartbreak suffered a few years earlier.

She had met the Olympic standard in the 5,000m along with two other Canadian women ahead of the 2016 Rio Games but was not selected for the team by Athletics Canada, who chose not to use up all three spots allowed per country for an individual event.

The Vancouver distance runner, who had long ago dreamed of representing her country on the Olympic stage, did not go down without a fight and appealed the decision, but it was rejected.

“The simplest way to explain it now is they had the option to pick three people but for various reasons they chose to keep two,” said Cliff, who is a Canadian brand ambassador for Swiss-based sportswear company On. “It didn’t go as I wanted but that’s what happened.”

Cliff eventually accepted that she had already pushed toward her upper limit in terms of how fast she run the 5,000m and so decided her best chance at fulfilling her dream of competing in an Olympics was through the marathon.

(11/22/2019) Views: 480 ⚡AMP
by Frank Pingue
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Canadian record holder Rachel Cliff switches from marathon back to the track

Rachel Cliff has had an amazing 2019. The 31-year-old set a Canadian record in the marathon in March, running a 2:26:56 in her second-ever 42.2K.

She followed that race up with a very impressive track season, just missing out on the 10,000m world championship standard at Payton Jordan but hitting the 5,000m standard on Saturday at Heusden.

Cliff has always said that she wanted to have a proper track season this summer, and she’s making it happen. But it hasn’t been easy: “Changing from the track to the marathon, I did notice a difference in my strength and my speed,” she says. “The marathon gives you real confidence in your strength, but your speed can suffer. It’s been a lot tougher than it used to be to go fast. I can’t go out too hard any more, but I am very confident in my ability to hold a pace.”

The Canadian record-holder also says that while the marathon training has made speed a little more difficult, it has helped with her patience.

Cliff turned down the spot she was offered on the World Championship team earlier this year to compete over the marathon distance, hoping to be able to make the team on the track.

“The marathon is a big build and it would’ve meant that I couldn’t have the summer season on the track. It was kind of sad to say no to a world team, but it was the right decision for me.”

She continues, “I was really hoping to qualify in the 10K [for worlds], but those fast races are tough to come across.” Cliff was just shy of standard in the 10,000m but achieved standard just last week over 5,000m. She says if given the opportunity to run at worlds over the shorter distance, she would love to run. “In the short term I’m focusing on Pam Ams, but then we’ll see how nationals goes–if I end up making the worlds team or not.”

The Canadian women’s 5,000m is extremely competitive right now. Andrea Seccafien has been so consistent around 15:11 and looks like she’s ready for a big breakthrough, and Jess O’Connell is a very strong championship racer who always finds herself in the mix. Throw in Cliff, fresh off a great race in Europe, and you’ve got a very competitive field.

Cliff has traveled a ton this year. She ran her Canadian record in Japan and has also been to California and Europe for track races. She said flying is a real phobia of hers, but she’s getting better at unwinding. “My advice for pre-race travel is to try not to stress about the little things, for example, food.

Food is something that can really stress out an athlete, but long as you don’t have anything too extreme, you can really eat anything. For me I find that tofu and rice are two things you can get about anywhere in the world, so I’ve gotten used to eating those two foods.”

She says she takes the same approach with sleep. “Sleep when you can, and try and sleep enough, even if it’s at strange times. The only thing that matters is that you’re not sleep deprived.”

For this weekend’s championship, Cliff is really excited to watch the women’s 1,500m and 800m. “It’s been awesome watching Melissa [Bishop-Nriagu] come back from having a baby and also exciting to see the new crop of 800m runners come up. Lindsey Butterworth is running so well–that’s a race I’m really excited to watch.”

As for her own championship goals, she’s happy with where she’s at and excited to compete against a strong group of Canadian women. “Running the [world] standard in a track event after the marathon is something I’m very happy about. I’m so glad I can come back to the track after the marathon and still find my speed.”

(07/24/2019) Views: 823 ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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Nagoya Women's Marathon

Nagoya Women's Marathon

The Nagoya Women's Marathon named Nagoya International Women's Marathon until the 2010 race, is an annual marathon race for female runners over the classic distance of 42 km and 195 metres, held in Nagoya, Japan in early March every year. It holds IAAF Gold Label road race status. It began in 1980 as an annual 20-kilometre road race held in...

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Canada’s Andrea Seccafien is primarily a track runner but runs a solid Half Marathon

It has been a big year for Andrea Seccafien. The Ontario Canada native moved across the world from Toronto to Melbourne, Australia in September of 2017. Seccafien now trains with Melbourne Track Club, among some of the best female distance runners in the world. MTC is a club that consists primarily of Olympians, most of which are Olympics finalists. Seccafien has had a whirlwind two years on the track, making both the Olympic and World Championship teams, as well as achieving a personal best of 15:08.59 in the 5,000m. Australia seems to suit Seccafien. On Sunday (April 22) she ran her first half marathon at the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon in a time of 1:13:19. That is a strong debut, especially considering she is primarily a track athlete and it is still quite early in the season. The Canadian half marathon record is currently held by Rachel Cliff at 1:10:08. With focus she might be able to run that fast. (04/24/2018) Views: 1,008 ⚡AMP
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New Women’s Half Marathon Canadian National Record set Saturday in Texas

Canadian, Rachel Cliff ran 1:10:08 at the Woodlands Half-Marathon in the city of the same name in Texas on Saturday. The improvement was a huge jump for Cliff as her previous best was 1:11:52, set in January 2018. Pending ratification, her mark improves upon the previous national record of 1:10:47, held by Lanni Marchant, the Canadian women’s marathon record holder. (03/03/2018) Views: 1,098 ⚡AMP
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Bruchet and Cliff repeat wins at 2018 Pioneer 8K

Wet and windy conditions prevailed today at the Harriers Pioneer 8K, the opening event of the Vancouver Island Race Series. The 39th running of the event had over 500 registrations, and was run on a new out-and-back rural course in North Saanich, B.C. For the second consecutive year, Luc Bruchet and Rachel Cliff won, defending their titles in what is historically Canada’s first notable road race of the calendar year. Bruchet, had a clean lead from the get-go as he battled the rain and head wind. (01/09/2018) Views: 713 ⚡AMP
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